Our History

STEM Next Builds on the Noyce Legacy

The Noyce Foundation was created in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of Intel and inventor of the integrated circuit, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

STEM Next Opportunity Fund is advancing the initial work of the Noyce Foundation, which invested $75 million over 25 years to launch out-of-school STEM learning and disrupt conventional thinking about how to get dramatic and sustainable results. Millions of young people—mostly children in grades 4 through 8—now have access to the learning opportunities they could not get in school.

This strategy was a game-changer. By capitalizing on afterschool and summer learning programs as a viable and powerful place for STEM learning, young people are now able to immediately start to learn STEM-related concepts everywhere they live, learn, and play.

These young people are now inspired by new ideas and new mentors. They are engaged in STEM-related interests and passions. They are career-ready, with new abilities such as coding, design thinking, and the scientific process. And they now have the chance to practice invaluable workforce skills, including critical thinking, creativity, communications, and collaboration.

STEM learning opportunities are flourishing in afterschool and other informal science programs across the country. Each year, young people—specifically girls and minority students who had been turned off or unengaged in STEM in school—are inspired to believe they can learn. These young people are building a “STEM identity” and imagining themselves in STEM jobs. Enrollment of minorities and girls in science and math classes in high school have already increased.